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McLaren want Honda to embrace "F1 racing culture"

McLaren race director Eric Boullier spoke to Autosport to lament the corporate mentality of his team's engine suppliers.
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Eric Boullier.

The relationship between F1 team McLaren and their engine supplier Honda isn't exactly going through it's finest moment. Although the results in 2015 and 2016 were a long way from expected, the two partners kept a united front in the face of adversity.

McLaren - Honda relationship starting to sour

However, cracks have now started to show in the relationship, with the Honda engine giving no end of trouble in testing for the 2017 season, leading to public criticism of the Japanese manufacturer by McLaren. Sources close to the team also revealed McLaren part owner Mansour Ojjeh had been in touch with Mercedes, to investigate switching engine suppliers.

McLaren race director Eric Boullier said recently that if McLaren had a Mercedes engine they would "be winning again", and now the race director has told Autosport that Honda don't get F1 culture.

McLaren's Boullier and driver Fernando Alonso
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McLaren's Boullier and driver Fernando Alonso

Boullier: Honda need to understand F1 racing culture 

"They only need one thing, which is to understand and integrate the F1 racing culture," Boullier said. "What I mean by that is: the way we behave in racing and Formula 1 is all driven by a calendar, by some fixed targets, fixed dates, lap time gains; we always try to go to the best solution as fast as possible".

Boullier complained that F1 is nothing like building a family saloon, saying "a car manufacturer... can have a few weeks delay and it's not going to change the product, it's not going to change the business model". On the other hand, "in racing, if you don't bring your upgrade for race one, in race one you will be nowhere".

McLaren openly criticising Honda

This isn't the first time McLaren have complained about Honda's restrictive method of working, but they've never done it so openly or clearly. Boullier also complained that despite Honda having built a remote engine worshop in England, the fact it has kept its main base in Japan is making the whole operation too slow for today's F1.

"The more you behave like a corporate company, the more process inherited from a corporate company, the slower you are, the less agile you are, which doesn't fit the racing culture."

The 2017 McLaren out on the track
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The 2017 McLaren out on the track

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